The Case for Limiting Government Recognition to Traditional Relationships

Follow this link:

The link above will take you to the first page of a five page blog post on the reasons for limiting government recognition of relationships to that of the traditional nature: husband and wife which equates to one man and one woman.

To give you a sample of the argument laid out in the post, I have copied the text word for word from the first page below. If you’ve ever wondered how to argue intelligently about your views on traditional marriage, this is an excellent place to start.

–the civil commentator

From The Case for Limiting Government Recognition to Traditional Relationships

The majority in this country have come to appreciate how gay people deserve the same individual rights and liberties enjoyed by all Americans, including the right to choose where to live, be educated, obtain health care, and work (so long as the work place isn’t a religious institution whose doctrine prohibits same-sex behavior).  Integral to such rights is being treated with courtesy, respect, and kindness, which form the core of any civilized and democratic society.
Just like all citizens, gay people deserve these rights because they’re human.  Indeed, these are the very inalienable rights described in the Constitution because they exist irrespective of what people do, say, believe, or act, so long as their actions don’t infringe on the rights of others or the welfare of society.
For this reason, it’s important to distinguish between the person and what the person does.  A person simply is. He/she has no ability to be anything but a person, and is, therefore, deserving of rights, which no one can remove by vote or decree. The natural and immutable – or fixed – conditions of race and gender fall into this category.


A person’s behavior is another matter.  Unlike the human condition, which is beyond our control, human behavior is not.  Instead, it begins with an urge, which many perceive as having little to no ability to  control.  However, we can decide whether we’ll act on the urge or engage in the behavior resulting from the urge. Sometimes the behavior is beneficial; sometimes it’s not. 


For this reason, the Constitution assigns the public or its elected representatives the right to pass laws governing human behavior for the benefit of the individual and society.  In general, the intent of such laws ranges from prohibiting to encouraging different behaviors, based on their merits or lack of them.  For example, some behaviors furnish positive benefits to individuals and society, and should, therefore, be encouraged with financial and legal benefits.  Examples in this first category would include going to college, starting a business, buying a home, giving to charities, and entering into marriage.    Other behaviors have the potential for harm but banning them would cause an undue burden on personal liberty.  So, we limit these behaviors to consenting adults.  Examples in this second category would be smoking, drinking, gambling, and human sexual relations outside marriage.  Finally, some behaviors are so egregious that we prohibit them.  Examples in this third category would be the taking of life or property.
For some behaviors, the facts are supportive, indicating why they should be placed in the first behavioral category and encouraged with legal and financial benefits.  For example take traditional marriage between a man and a woman. In this relationship, people of differing genders offer psychological and health benefits to both partners and to offspring.  Among these are reduced stress, increased lifespan, and the best environment for raising children.  Heterosexual marriage also greatly reduces (if not eliminates) promiscuity and the potential for STDs, AIDS, and AIDS-related diseases. [1][2]


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  1. #1 by mrguido45 on July 16, 2011 - 02:37

    Most of the research cited is older (like the 90s), and my anecdotal experience is that gay relationships now are a lot more “vanilla.” I know a lot of older gay people (again, anecdotal) who were closeted when a lot of this research came out, and I’d be interested to see this research duplicated now that a lot of the “vanilla” gays feel safe out of the closet.
    Also, I’ve never been clear on how gay marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. I don’t think most people’s vows are contingent on who else is allowed to get married. Christian couples make vows to each other and, usually, covenants with God. There are no gay people in that transaction! If a couple’s fidelity is challenged by gay marriage, I would question the stability to begin with. Since most of these studies came out, heterosexual promiscuity has increased (and STDs in straight communities) and divorce in more “conservative” communities has gone through the roof. I don’t think problems in “traditional” marriage stem from gay marriage.
    Finally, infidelity, promiscuity, and STDs are still problems in both gay and straight communities, and I think we should expect more from young couples regardless of sexual orientation. I think the illegitimacy of gay relationships makes fidelity seem less important. We should raise the standards for long-term committed monogamy regardless of sexual orientation. When marriage stats deteriorate, people start looking for how to fix it. Why can’t we expect the same from the gay community? Why do we hold a lower standard for them?
    Also, if gay marriage became legalized and started showing “staying power” that matched straight marriages, would the legitimize them? There’s a lot more in this article that’s worth addressing, it’s just that the “gay promiscuity will undermine straight marriage” has always seemed weak, because it seems like the expectation of long-term committed relationships (like marriage) would be a solution to that. And I don’t see how gay marriage would make people cheat.
    I advocate that straight couples need to practice the kinds of relationships that sustain fidelity, then hold gay relationships to the same high standards. If promiscuity undermines marriage, straight people are just as much to blame.
    Just my two cents (okay, that was like five cents).
    Dan the Man

  2. #2 by thecivilcommentator on July 16, 2011 - 05:43

    The point of the article is not that heterosexual marriages don’t suffer from infidelity or that heterosexual relationships can’t or won’t lead to one or both partners contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

    The article is an argument for government restricting the benefits that are currently only, for the most part, enjoyed by heterosexual couples married to one another.

    It’s not an article that’s attempting to say, ‘we don’t approve of them’, so ‘they’ can’t be in the ‘club’. The article makes an honest attempt to lay out an argument in favor of limiting the conferring of government benefits on heterosexual couples united in what is meant to be a lifelong, legal partnership–apart from any church ceremony.

    I felt the author did a good job of laying out a logical argument for his point of view without resorting to personal attacks.

    I know that this issue will continue to be a topic of lengthy and heated discussion, but it helped me to flesh out a logical reason for a personally held belief.

    My fear in the arguments against and for changing the definition of legal marriage, is that too often each side seeks a method to codify their argument into Federal law. Traditional marriage proponents through an amendment to the United States Constitution. Same-sex marriage proponents through bringing lawsuits before members of the Judiciary with a similar mindset who are likely to rule in favor of the person or persons bringing the lawsuit.

    A very troubling set of events has taken place in the last year in the political argument over same-sex marriage. President Obama on his own made the determination that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was bad legislation/un-Constitutional and therefore he gave direction to the Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in court. It was seen by same-sex marriage proponents as a great victory in their fight for same-sex marriage rights. What is deeply troubling is the President of the United States making a determination of the legality of a law apart from a determination of Constitutionality from the Supreme Court of the United States; and then acting or in this case not acting to defend a law of the United States.

    This sets a very troubling precedent; one which no American would want to occur. It was an act of outright lawlessness and it violates the Separation of Powers laid out in our founding documents. The President doesn’t get to decide what laws he will or won’t defend in court. The President is the head of the Executive Branch, and as such is responsible for executing, which includes defending, the Laws of the United States.

    Regardless of how one feels about the Constitutionality or the ‘goodness’ of the DOMA, it’s important that elected officials don’t take the law into their own hands. If the President were to petition Congress to repeal the DOMA and was successful, then so be it. For traditional marriage proponents, it would be a disappointing set of events, but one which is acceptable because it would stay within the bounds of Constitutional constructs. I can’t help but reason that the President has taken these steps to curry favor with a significant portion of his electoral base in preparation for a re-election bid. Typical politics, but frightening precedent.

    Despite the President’s actions with regards to his inaction on defending the DOMA, the current state of affairs with same-sex marriage legislation is acceptable. Some State Legislative bodies have brought the issue to a vote and chosen in a number of cases to permit same-sex marriage in their states. In many states, referendums have been placed on statewide ballots, and in all cases, the electorate has chosen to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

    Court battles on these referendums threaten to overturn the will of the people, so this remains a tenuous situation. Where the rubber will meet the road in the differing definitions of marriage in various states will be when same-sex couples seek to gain marital benefits in states that don’t permit same-sex marriage. Currently, the DOMA stands in the way of same-sex couples obtaining marital benefits in non-consenting states; but should these lawsuits not be defended by the Federal government, a very touchy situation will develop.

    The debate continues…

    …and if the previous comment was five cents, it appears mine is close to eight. Regardless, I always appreciate the civil debate!

  3. #3 by mrguido45 on July 16, 2011 - 22:35

    I don’t think the civil liberties of a large class of people should be subject to the “will of the people.” Civil rights should not be subject to popular vote. I think, though, that we probably disagree on whether this would be considered under the banner of “civil rights,” so we may have to agree to disagree on that angle.
    I would argue that gay marriage has the potential to offer the same benefits to its participants as straight marriage, and that it belongs in the first category of activities as much as straight marriage does. The author argued that it doesn’t confer the same benefits, and I think that’s just because the sources he used are out-of-date and no longer accurate (if they’re being interpreted correctly to begin with). We may disagree on whether it’s the best environment for raising children, but studies on the current generation of children (and now some adults) being raised by “out” gay parents suggests that being raised by gay parents is no worse than being raised by straight parents.

  4. #4 by semyon_suslov on July 26, 2011 - 16:55

    The link to “The Case for Government Recognition of Traditional Relationships” has changed. It’s now Thank you for kind comments and for posting the link here for further discussion.

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